Earlier this week, I was excited to learn about Premier Dalton McGuinty’s proposed overhaul of sexual education curriculum in Ontario. But today, it seems that my excitement was premature.
At a school event in London, Ont., McGuinty announced that the new curriculum’which would start teaching kids about topics like sexual orientation and gender issues in Grade 3′will be shelved. ‘We spent a good 24 to 48 hours listening to parents,’ he said. ‘It’s become pretty obvious to us that we should give this a serious re-think.’
While McGuinty denies that this sudden change of heart is due to threats from religious groups to remove their children from Ontario schools, it’s hard to believe that the two are not somehow related. In his announcement, McGuinty also noted that the government will ‘create more opportunities for parents to lend shape to a policy with which they are more comfortable.’
As someone who believes strongly in the power of education, I can’t help but feel that the current sex ed curriculum in Ontario schools does young people a disservice. I was raised in the Catholic school system, which means that my experience with sex ed involved long lectures about abstinence, while contraception was briefly glossed over in science class. And forget about homosexuality’gay marriage may be legal in this country, but if you wanted to bring your same-sex partner to the prom, you needed a lawyer.
Please don’t misunderstand me’I am not against teaching kids about the merits of abstinence. However, I believe that it is imperative to provide kids with sex ed that is well-rounded, not one-sided, and certainly not one that seeks to exclude the gay community. That way, we can be sure that they are equipped to make well-informed decisions about sex, rather than making choices based on locker room gossip and the late-night lineup on Showcase. And honestly, if current TV programming like "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom" doesn’t help to illustrate the need for better sex education, I don’t know what does.
How do you feel about McGuinty’s proposed sex ed curriculum? Are you relieved that the program has been halted, or disappointed?